The NBA’s Special Relationship

By Wesley Chism Jr., BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: February 15, 2010

DALLAS (BASN) — This past weekend, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs served as host of the seventh annual NBA All-Star Special Olympics Clinic, as if I needed another reason to admire him.

Hasheem Thabeet of the Memphis Grizzlies, NBA Legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton, NBA Legend Felipe Lopez and Ticha Penicheiro of the Los Angeles Sparks all got in on the action.

60 local Special Olympic athletes from the surrounding Dallas area took full advantage of the advice from the pros during the clinic at the 2010 NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Adidas.

The relationship between the Special Olympics and the NBA began more than 30 years ago when the league assisted Special Olympics in introducing basketball as a new sport to the movement.

I’ve been volunteering with Special Olympics as a basketball official for the past seven years and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Basketball is a sport that has a place for everyone and with each jump ball it creates an opportunity for a memorable moment.

The NBA’s Basketball without Borders program has conducted international clinics for Special Olympics programs in China, Puerto Rico, Russia, France, Italy, Brazil, Mexico and I’m sure that the list will continue to grow.

The Special Olympics have greatly benefited from the NBA through sponsorship of basketball tournaments, the creation of public service announcements with NBA players, and player participation at major Special Olympics events.

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to get involved with the Special Olympics.

Check your local listing and give them a call today and see how you can contribute to the success of these enthusiastic athletes.

The Special Olympics athletes will also be promoting a message of respect and acceptance as they encourage people to ‘spread the word to end the word’ by pledging to stop using the hurtful word “retard” leading up to the national awareness day on March 3, 2010.